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Special (Ongoing): Bush Returns To Scene Of Crime

The Legacy of Katrina: Bush lazy, incompetent, callous, Tomasky
Bush meets anger and frustration in New Orleans, Reid
Katrina:slow as molasses, Digby
The long slog after Katrina, BG ED
Hurricane George: How The White House Drowned New Orleans, Palast
2 years after Katrina, Bush visit passes unnoticed as New Orleans grieves, Nossiter
Bush Says Gulf Coast Recovering from Katrina, But Signs of Neglect Abound, Douglas
Katrina: A thousand words, Perlstein
Katrina: The "federalist pause", Perlstein

Special (ongoing): Liar Gonzales Moves On

Gonzales’ Resignation Should Not Impede Inquiry Into War Crimes
Gonzales & Son: The Legacy of An Honest Day’s Work
Cronyism bows out at Justice, BG Ed. The puppet that lost its master: Alberto Gonzales, Blumenthal
After Long Controversy, Attorney General Gonzales Resigns, Taylor+Talev
Democrats weigh in on Gonzales departure, BG
Bush's Herd of Loyal Texas Advisers Continues to Thin, Montgomery
Glenn Greenwald: The Democrats’ Responsibility In The Wake of Gonzales’ Resignation
John Nichols: Gonzales Goes But Investigation Must Continue
New blow to Bush as attorney general resigns, MacAskill
Why did Bush do it? Somebody's hiding something big, Alterman
Fredo/Gonzo: Sinking ship leaves rat , Tomasky
Another nail in the coffin of a moribund presidency, Editorial
Another Bush ally bites the dust, Reid
Why Republicans will heave a sigh of relief, Baker

Special (ongoing): Destroyer Rove Moves On

Frank Rich:
Rove Got Out While the Getting Was Good
Bill Moyers:
The Rove Legacy
Amy Goodman:
Rove’s Science of Dirty Tricks
Garrison Keillor:
Good Riddance Turd Blossom
Marcy Wheeler:
What Is Karl Rove Hiding?
John Nichols:
Karl Rove: The Machiavelli Who Failed
Matthew Rothschild: Exit, Karl Rove, Stage Right
Michael Winship:
The Jaundiced Rove of Texas
Sydney Blumenthal:
We’ll Go No More A-Rove-ing

Rove is cruising the talk shows saying don't blame him, 'somebody' made him do it, Stanley
Rove exit could launch new political strategy, Kranish
The mark of the Rove, Ed.
The Rise and Fall of Turd Blossom, Blumenthal
What is Karl Rove hiding?, Marcy Wheeler
How Karl Rove lost a generation of Republicans, James Carville
A teary bunker moment for Rove as Bush bids him farewell, Rutenberg &Myers
Mr. Rove gets out of town: he can run but Congress can't let him hide, Ed
There are hundreds of machiavellian Rove-spawn still working for the GOP, Nagourney
'Goodbye, good riddance:' Dems bid farewell to Rove
Matthews: 'Exposed' Rove may have to testify now
Bush's brain drain fallout: The conservative government in ruins, Editorial
Ding dong, the witch is dead: Rove heads off to Texas, MacAskill
Rove legacy: incompetency and duplicity, Tomasky
What Karl Rove Didn't Build
Goodbye, 'Boy Genius'
Karl Rove's Legacy. by Robert D. Novak
Rove: The Architect's Great Project, by Grover G. Norquist

Special: Bush Economy in Crisis

Financial bankruptcy, the US dollar and the real economy, Rodrigue Tremblay
Danny Schechter: Mythifying Markets and Mystifying the Public About the Financial Crisis
Dean Baker: Save Subprime Borrowers, Not Bloated Bankers
Credit crisis claims another bank, Beams
US mortgage lender sells assets, BBC
US stocks rise but jitters remain, BBC
Top US lender 'risks bankruptcy', BBC
Asian markets see further losses, BBC
Property crisis in US deepens, Clark
Buffet profits on Murdoch's purchase of Dow Jones, Clark
Foreclosures Hitting Hard, Pugh
US retailers warn of tough times, BBC
US stocks fall on renewed jitters, BBC
Profit warnings from Wal-Mart.. customers running out of cash, Jagger
If the Americans stop shopping, there will be panic in the markets , Harding
From housing haven to foreclosure leader, streets bristling with 'For Sale' signs, McKinley
The Bush Economy: The U.S. Economy Has Hit The Fan, Paul Krugman
Global stock markets extend plunge
Tel Aviv Stock Exchange opens trading with sharp losses across the board, Natan Sheva
US shares tumble amid Mortgage concerns , BBC
European Central Bank moves to help banking sector, BBC
Economy in Crisis: China Warns U.S.
US lender on brink of bankruptcy, BBC
Britain: Inequality at 40-year high, Whelan
Bush aims to cut corporate tax rates
Hedge Funds May Pose a Risk to U.S. Economy, Hall+Rankin
Chinese Officials Threaten Dollar-Crashing Sell-Off Of U.S. Money
U.S. Jobs Scarcer, Outlook Bleaker for Migrants, Study Says, Bachelet
Mortgage seekers caught in squeeze, Blanton
Getting the rescue right for homeowners...there will be a rescue won't there?, NYT Ed
A future without homelessness, BG Ed

Special Continuing Feature: Bush Threat Is Real

Matthew Rothschild:
‘Impeach Bush’ Sign = Littering?
Bruce Fein:
Pelosi Needs To Put Impeachment On The Table
Robert Kuttner:
First Gonzales, Then Bush: Impeachment Should Be A Serious Option - With An Intermediary Step
Bill Press:
Cowardly Democrats Give In to President on NSA Wiretapping
Robyn Blumner:
Nixon Set the Stage for Bush’s Excesses
Marjorie Cohn:
FISA Revised: A Blank Check for Domestic Spying
John Dean:
The So-Called Protect America Act
Matthew Rothschild:
Why Are Most Democratic Senators Hiding Even From Censure?
Robert Scheer:
The Terror America Wrought
Burt Cohen:
America Needs To Impeach
Cynthia Cooper:
Media & Impeachment: Not For Discussion, Only For Derision
Christopher Brauchli:
Totalitarianism Revisited
Rosa Brooks:
Heroism and The Language of Fascism
John Nichols:
Representative Baldwin Joins Impeachment Call
Walter Mondale:
Cheney Overstepped The Bounds of His Office
Alan Nasser:
The Threat of U.S. Fascism: An Historical Precedent
Kaleem Omar:
Bush’s Critics Say Threat of Martial Law in The United States is ‘Real’
Dave Lindorff:
Martial Law Threat is Real
John Nichols:
A Commitment to the Constitution
Glenn Smith:
Congress, Bush and The Real Constitutional Crisis
Ralph Nader:
Acting On Impeachment
John Nichols:
Censure and Impeachment: Take 2
Hubert Locke:
Talk of Impeachment Gets Louder

Details emerge of vast scope of US domestic spying law, Kay
Bush signs expanded wiretap law, BBC
Repair The Constitutional Breach
All tapped out on civil liberties?, ED
Colbert: 'Bush should act illegally before Congress legalizes acts'

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bush Watch Op-Eds: The Latest From Wokusch, Weiner, Partridge, Morford

An Ominous Complacency,, Ernest Partridge
How the Bush Administration Is Turning the USA into a Subprime Borrower, Heather Wokusch
Bush Bunker Crew's Legacy: "Dangerous Losers", Bernard Weiner
Welcome to the Jungle: US Military Psychological Operations and You, Heather Wokusch
Hillary Clinton: The GOP's Favorite Democrat, Ernest Partridge
A News Quiz: Real or Fake?, Bernard Weiner
CheneyBush’s “Mercenary” Legions , Bernard Weiner
Under the Radar: 10 Warning Signs For Today , Heather Wokusch

SFGate: Mark Morford

America, The Sexy Fascist State / Surveillance cameras are booming. The quest...
My Life With Jenna Bush / What's it like to be married to the booze-friendly,...
Thank God You Are Not Karl Rove / You have many things for which you can be d...
Jesus Loves Your Crappy Videos / Behold GodTube.com, the place where sex, hum...
The Great Hello Kitty Humiliation / Late for work? Hello Kitty! Cheat on your...
Totally Free! Click Here Now! / Our national obsession, the thing we simply c...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Party Line: Why A Republican Vote Is A Racist Vote, Paul Krugman

...[There is a] difference between the goals of the modern Republican Party and the strategy it uses to win elections. The people who run the G.O.P. are concerned, above all, with making America safe for the rich. Their ultimate goal, as Grover Norquist once put it, is to get America back to the way it was “up until Teddy Roosevelt, when the socialists took over,” getting rid of “the income tax, the death tax, regulation, all that.” But right-wing economic ideology has never been a vote-winner. Instead, the party’s electoral strategy has depended largely on exploiting racial fear and animosity.

Ronald Reagan didn’t become governor of California by preaching the wonders of free enterprise; he did it by attacking the state’s fair housing law, denouncing welfare cheats and associating liberals with urban riots. Reagan didn’t begin his 1980 campaign with a speech on supply-side economics, he began it — at the urging of a young Trent Lott — with a speech supporting states’ rights delivered just outside Philadelphia, Miss., where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. And if you look at the political successes of the G.O.P. since it was taken over by movement conservatives, they had very little to do with public opposition to taxes, moral values, perceived strength on national security, or any of the other explanations usually offered. To an almost embarrassing extent, they all come down to just five words: southern whites starting voting Republican.

In fact, I suspect that the underlying importance of race to the Republican base is the reason Rudy Giuliani remains the front-runner for the G.O.P. nomination, despite his serial adultery and his past record as a social liberal. Never mind moral values: what really matters to the base is that Mr. Giuliani comes across as an authoritarian, willing in particular to crack down on you-know-who. But Republicans have a problem: demographic changes are making their race-based electoral strategy decreasingly effective. Quite simply, America is becoming less white, mainly because of immigration. Hispanic and Asian voters were only 4 percent of the electorate in 1980, but they were 11 percent of voters in 2004 — and that number will keep rising for the foreseeable future.

Those numbers are the reason Karl Rove was so eager to reach out to Hispanic voters. But the whites the G.O.P. has counted on to vote their color, not their economic interests, are having none of it. From their point of view, it’s us versus them — and everyone who looks different is one of them. So now we have the spectacle of Republicans competing over who can be most convincingly anti-Hispanic. I know, officially they’re not hostile to Hispanics in general, only to illegal immigrants, but that’s a distinction neither the G.O.P. base nor Hispanic voters takes seriously.

Today’s G.O.P., in short, is trapped by its history of cynicism. For decades it has exploited racial animosity to win over white voters — and now, when Republican politicians need to reach out to an increasingly diverse country, the base won’t let them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

GOP Plot: Let's Dump The Undemocratic Electoral College, NYT Ed

The Electoral College should be abolished, but there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. A prominent Republican lawyer in California is doing it the wrong way, promoting a sneaky initiative that, in the name of Electoral College reform, would rig elections in a way that would make it difficult for a Democrat to be elected president, no matter how the popular vote comes out. If the initiative passes, it would do serious damage to American democracy.

California currently gives all 55 of its electoral votes — the biggest electoral college prize in the nation — to the candidate who wins the statewide popular vote. Virtually all states use this winner-take-all method. The California initiative, which could go to a vote in June, would instead give the 2008 presidential candidates one electoral vote for every Congressional district that they win, with an additional two electoral votes going to whoever got the most votes statewide. (Democrats appear to have backed off from plans to try just as anti-democratic a trick in North Carolina, which is good.)

The net result of the California initiative would be that if the Democratic candidate wins in that state next year, which is very likely, the Republican candidate might still walk away with 20 or more of the state’s electoral votes. The initiative, backed by a shadowy group called Californians for Equal Representation, is being promoted as an effort to more accurately reflect the choices of the state’s voters, and to force candidates to pay more attention to California, which is usually not in play in presidential elections. It is actually a power grab on behalf of Republicans.

The Electoral College should be done away with, but in the meantime, any reforms should improve the system, not make it worse. If California abandons its winner-take-all rule while red states like Texas do not, it will be hard for a Democratic nominee to assemble an Electoral College majority, even if he or she wins a sizable majority of the popular vote. That appears to be just what the backers of the California idea have in mind.

If voters understand that the initiative is essentially an elaborate dirty trick posing as reform, they are likely to vote against it. But judging by the misleading name of their organization, the initiative’s backers want to fool the public into thinking the change would make elections more fair. They are planning on putting it to a vote in June 2008, an election when there will be few other things on the ballot, and turnout is expected to be extremely low. This bad-faith initiative is yet another example of the ways in which referenda can be used for mischief and a reminder of why they are a bad way to resolve complex public-policy issues.

Opponents of the initiative announced yesterday that they are sponsoring their own, rival initiative, which would commit California to a national plan that aims to ensure that the winner of the national popular vote becomes president. That idea makes much more sense.

Leading Republicans, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have been silent about the initiative to split California’s electoral votes, but they should be speaking out against it. The fight isn’t about Republicans vs. Democrats. It is about whether to twist the nation’s system of electing presidents to give one party an unfair advantage. No principled elected official, or voter, of either party should support that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Average Citizen: Men of Good Fortune, Lou Reed, Politex

Men of good fortune
often cause empires to fall
While men of poor beginnings
often can't do anything at all

The rich son waits for his father to die
the poor just drink and cry
And me, I just don't care at all

Men of good fortune
very often don't know a thing
While men of poor beginnings
think they can do anything

At heart they try to act like a man
handle things the best way they can
They have no rich daddy to fall back on

Men of good fortune
often cause empires to fall
While men of poor beginnings
often can't do anything at all

It takes money to make money they say
look at daddy Bush, he started that way
Anyway, it makes no difference to me

Men of good fortune
often wish that they could die
While men of poor beginnings
want what they have and to get it they'll die

All those great things that life has to give
they wanna have money and live
But me, I just don't care at all

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mind Detox: Selected Op-Eds, Various

1. The Unseen Lies: Journalism As Propaganda by John Pilger

....I’ve made a number of documentaries about Cambodia. The first was Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia. It describes the American bombing that provided the catalyst for the rise of Pol Pot. What Nixon and Kissinger had started, Pol Pot completed-CIA files alone leave no doubt of that. I offered Year Zero to PBS and took it to Washington. The PBS executives who saw it were shocked. They whispered among themselves. They asked me to wait outside. One of them finally emerged and said, “John, we admire your film. But we are disturbed that it says the United States prepared the way for Pol Pot.” I said, “Do you dispute the evidence?” I had quoted a number of CIA documents. “Oh, no,” he replied. “But we’ve decided to call in a journalistic adjudicator.” Now the term “journalist adjudicator” might have been invented by George Orwell....


2. Two Legs Good, Four Legs Equal by Jason Miller While there are myriad ways we can each minimize our culpability in the egregious crimes of savage capitalism and its most banal representation, consumerism, the struggle to end speciesism is at the vanguard of our much needed moral evolution. Yet is often minimized and ridiculed by sociopolitical thinkers of nearly all stripes.


3. ‘Managing Consent’: The Art of War, Democracy and Public Relations by Ramzy Baroud

Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents argues that man’s subconscious desires would be utterly violent and sadistic if uncontrolled; his nephew suggested the cure was to curb these desires in a way that generated immense profits. Successive US administrations have taken note and their greatest achievement has been to exploit the subconscious factors that infuse fear and paranoia amongst the masses. Wars have been undertaken, regimes overthrown, and bombs dropped in the midst of sleeping populations, all in the name of democracy.


4. "The American Middle Class Sham" by Michael Alton Gottlieb

Lou Dobbs is no prairie populist, though he sings that song. Lou Dobbs is as elite as they come. Frankly, Lou Dobbs is a snob. So why his heartfelt lamentations over the dire straits of America's middle class? You don't hear a breath about the billions of folks who face death and dying everyday through poverty, disease and oppression by tyrants with Swiss bank accounts on the payroll of 'free trading' transnational corporations.....No, Lou's alarm at the plight of the middle class isn't because he cares about your kids, but because he cares about himself. This isn't about jobs, or American egalitarianism or the economy directly. The truth is the middle class acts as a moat around the Castle Elite and protects the oppressors from the wrath of those who have nothing to lose and are willing to sacrifice themselves for the hope of a better future for their children.


5. The Inhuman State of US Healthcare by Vicente Navarro (a CJO audiofile produced by Paul Donovan)


6. The SiCKO Controversy : Views From the Left (analyses of Michael Moore's documentary by Carolyn Baker and by David Walsh)

Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko (2007) has attracted its fair share of critics among the liberaloid guardians of the status quo, and, naturally, rabidly negative and mendacious reviews from the right. But a film of this importance, that has managed to touch off a desperately needed debate about the nature of the “health care” system in the US, and the grasping values underscoring it, has also elicited criticism from the left. In this series of posts we cover the more compelling arguments.


7. Bonds and bondage by Guy Zimmerman

...the economic system is structured to allow the owners who are enriching themselves to completely ignore the suffering, misery and environmental and social degradation that are a direct result of their activities. Modern corporate structures were set up explicitly to accomplish this sleight of hand, and the entire cultural edifice, as we’ve noted, is geared toward degrading awareness of the huge cost of consumer capitalism in terms of visceral human suffering - wars, famines and all the rest.


8. The Strange Case of Ted Nugent (or How to Flaunt One's Depravity All the Way to Public Acclaim) by Patrice Greanville

But what of Teddy's demonstrably psychotic makeup? Here we use the term advisedly. For decades forensic psychiatrists have recognized that a total lack of empathy with the suffering of fellow creatures is a telltale sign of psychopathic tendencies. Serial killer Ted Bundy exhibited that trait. The little known (in America) Luis Alfredo Gavarito, a Colombian serial killer notched 140 children before he was caught, but the telling fact is that he had a long previous and parallel history of savage mutilation of animals. Jeffrey Dahmer, of necrophiliac fame, was also an early and obsessive animal tormentor. Psychiatrists are in agreement that the trait is found in the overwhelming majority of psychosexual criminals. Hunting is of course far more widespread that I, for one, would like, and not all hunters are serial killers. Still, caution is in order when in comes to these pastimes.


9. Calvinism, Capitalism, Conversion, and Incarceration by Chip Berlet What Calvinism accomplished was to fulfill the psychic needs of both upwardly mobile middle class entrepreneurs and alienated workers. Middle class businessmen (and they were men) could ascribe their economic success to their spiritual superiority. These businessmen and others who were predestined to be the Elect of God could turn to alienated workers, and explain to them that their impoverished economic condition was the result of a spiritual failure ordained by God. Their place in the spiritual (and economic) system was predestined. This refocused anger away from material demands in the here and now. Because of their evil and weak nature, those that sinned or committed crimes had to be taught how to change their behavior through punishment, shame, and discipline.


10. Home Grown Terrorists? by Rowan Wolf

....As an activist (non-governmental organizations), a researcher (use the internet and even sponsor a political site), teacher and sponsor of student groups, who eats out from time to time, I find the breadth of NYPD’s list stunning and alarming. It is particularly alarming within the context of the loss of Constitutional protections; the extension of the “terrorist” label; and the “liberalization” of data gathering and surveillance. Not surprisingly, the report was seen by Homeland Security (AP article) contributing to understanding radicalization.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Helping the Victims: The Bush Housing Bubble Bursts, Paul Krugman

Unlike the Enron scam, the hand of the Bush family and the Bush administration on the housing bubble is not as obvious, but it's there. The Bush policy of removing safeguards from financial dealings to benefit his corporate masters continues its harmful march over the backs of average Americans. Like Clinton's dot com bubble, the Bush housing bubble was engendered to float a sick economy, and its destructive end has been predicted by most economists for years. Yet, nothing was done, because our corporate and political leaders were making a buck off the sweat of unknowing citizens. Now, these greedy manipulators of the public trust want the government to bail them out, plundering further the public till. --Politex

...It is becoming increasingly clear that the real-estate bubble of recent years, like the stock bubble of the late 1990s, both caused and was fed by widespread malfeasance. Rating agencies like Moody’s Investors Service, which get paid a lot of money for rating mortgage-backed securities, seem to have played a similar role to that played by complaisant accountants in the corporate scandals of a few years ago. In the ’90s, accountants certified dubious earning statements; in this decade, rating agencies declared dubious mortgage-backed securities to be highest-quality, AAA assets.

Yet our desire to avoid letting bad actors off the hook shouldn’t prevent us from doing the right thing, both morally and in economic terms, for borrowers who were victims of the bubble. Most of the proposals I’ve seen for dealing with the problems of subprime borrowers are of the locking-the-barn-door-after-the-horse-is-gone variety: they would curb abusive lending practices — which would have been very useful three years ago — but they wouldn’t help much now. What we need at this point is a policy to deal with the consequences of the housing bust.

Consider a borrower who can’t meet his or her mortgage payments and is facing foreclosure. In the past, as Gretchen Morgenson recently pointed out in The Times, the bank that made the loan would often have been willing to offer a workout, modifying the loan’s terms to make it affordable, because what the borrower was able to pay would be worth more to the bank than its incurring the costs of foreclosure and trying to resell the home. That would have been especially likely in the face of a depressed housing market.

Today, however, the mortgage broker who made the loan is usually, as Ms. Morgenson says, “the first link in a financial merry-go-round.” The mortgage was bundled with others and sold to investment banks, who in turn sliced and diced the claims to produce artificial assets that Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s were willing to classify as AAA. And the result is that there’s nobody to deal with. This looks to me like a clear case for government intervention: there’s a serious market failure, and fixing that failure could greatly help thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of Americans. The federal government shouldn’t be providing bailouts, but it should be helping to arrange workouts.

And we’ve done this sort of thing before — for third-world countries, not for U.S. citizens. The Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s was brought to an end by so-called Brady deals, in which creditors were corralled into reducing the countries’ debt burdens to manageable levels. Both the debtors, who escaped the shadow of default, and the creditors, who got most of their money, benefited.

The mechanics of a domestic version would need a lot of work, from lawyers as well as financial experts. My guess is that it would involve federal agencies buying mortgages — not the securities conjured up from these mortgages, but the original loans — at a steep discount, then renegotiating the terms. But I’m happy to listen to better ideas. The point, however, is that doing nothing isn’t the only alternative to letting the parties who got us into this mess off the hook. Say no to bailouts — but let’s help borrowers work things out.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Narcissist-in-Chief: Sick Party Produces Sick Choices For Sick Backers, Paul Krugman

...It has long been clear that President Bush doesn’t feel other people’s pain. His self-centeredness shines through whenever he makes off-the-cuff, unscripted remarks, from his jocular obliviousness in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to the joke he made last year in San Antonio when visiting the Brooke Army Medical Center, which treats the severely wounded: “As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself — not here at the hospital, but in combat with a cedar. I eventually won. The cedar gave me a little scratch.” What’s now clear is that the two men most likely to end up as the G.O.P. presidential nominee [,Romney and Giuliani,] are cut from the same cloth. This probably isn’t a coincidence. Arguably, the current state of the Republican Party is such that only extreme narcissists have a chance of getting nominated.

To be a serious presidential contender, after all, you have to be a fairly smart guy — and nobody has accused either Mr. Romney or Mr. Giuliani of being stupid. To appeal to the G.O.P. base, however, you have to say very stupid things, like Mr. Romney’s declaration that we should “double Guantánamo,” or Mr. Giuliani’s dismissal of the idea that raising taxes is sometimes necessary to pay for things like repairing bridges as a “Democratic, liberal assumption.”

So the G.O.P. field is dominated by smart men willing to play dumb to further their personal ambitions. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, to learn that these men are monstrously self-centered. All of which leaves us with a political question. Most voters are thoroughly fed up with the current narcissist in chief. Are they really ready to elect another?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Genocide As U.S. Foreign Policy: Bush Shares The Guilt For The Darfur Genocide?, 60 Minutes

This segment was originally broadcast on Oct. 22, 2006. It was updated on Aug. 8, 2007.

It hardly seems possible, but after four years, the genocide in Darfur continues. Correspondent Scott Pelley first reported this story last year, as the government in Sudan launched a new offensive of "ethnic cleansing."...

..."What is it that you think people don’t understand about what’s going on here now?" Pelley asks Dr. Brahma.

"This is bad. They go to the villages, and they burn one village after the other, then when the people come out they catch the women and gang bang, they rape them not one guy, no 10, 15 then they carve up the men and throw them in the drinking water to make sure that this place will never ever be used again. And you’re telling me the people in America don’t know this or don’t want to know this. Maybe its too much to know but that’s what’s happening right now and its happening all over again," Dr. Brahma says. "I’m sorry to say I’m going to sit here with you in two years time and I’m gonna tell you the same sad story. People will say, 'Ich habe nicht gewusst,' which is German for 'I didn’t know.'"

The man who doesn’t want you to know is Sudan’s dictator Omar AlBashir. In 2006, he signed a U.S.-brokered peace agreement but it never took hold. AlBashir launched a new offensive, and then, last September, came to the U.N. to hear President Bush say this to his face, "To the people of Darfur, you have seen unspeakable violence and my nation has called these atrocities what they are: genocide."

Sudan’s U.N. representative looked amused during Bush's speech. AlBashir threatened war against U.N. peacekeepers.

Why do these guys mock the U.S. in public? Well, it turns out our government's relationship with Sudan is complicated. In the 1990’s AlBashir hosted Osama bin Laden for five years, so he has information on al Qaeda.

"It's been a very good deal for the government of Sudan to give little tidbits of information about suspects around the world in order to blunt United States outrage over what’s happening in Darfur," Prendergast says.

n 2005, the U.S. sent a private jet to bring Sudan’s intelligence chief to CIA headquarters.

"This is the same guy who was the architect of the counter-insurgency strategy in Darfur. What kind of signal does that send to the government of Sudan?" Prendergast asks.

"Look, this is a hard thing to swallow, because what you’re saying is, the United States is in bed with the government in Khartoum on counterterrorism issues and therefore we are looking the other way on a genocide I mean, that’s tough," Pelley remarks.

"I think it's a really heinous arrangement and one that history will judge very harshly," Prendergast replies.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Bush Economy: The U.S. Economy Has Hit The Fan, Paul Krugman

...What’s been happening in financial markets over the past few days is something that truly scares monetary economists: liquidity has dried up. That is, markets in stuff that is normally traded all the time — in particular, financial instruments backed by home mortgages — have shut down because there are no buyers. This could turn out to be nothing more than a brief scare. At worst, however, it could cause a chain reaction of debt defaults.

The origins of the current crunch lie in the financial follies of the last few years, which in retrospect were as irrational as the dot-com mania. The housing bubble was only part of it; across the board, people began acting as if risk had disappeared. Everyone knows now about the explosion in subprime loans, which allowed people without the usual financial qualifications to buy houses, and the eagerness with which investors bought securities backed by these loans. But investors also snapped up high-yield corporate debt, a k a junk bonds, driving the spread between junk bond yields and U.S. Treasuries down to record lows.

Then reality hit — not all at once, but in a series of blows. First, the housing bubble popped. Then subprime melted down. Then there was a surge in investor nervousness about junk bonds: two months ago the yield on corporate bonds rated B was only 2.45 percent higher than that on government bonds; now the spread is well over 4 percent. Investors were rattled recently when the subprime meltdown caused the collapse of two hedge funds operated by Bear Stearns, the investment bank. Since then, markets have been manic-depressive, with triple-digit gains or losses in the Dow Jones industrial average — the rule rather than the exception for the past two weeks.

But yesterday’s announcement by BNP Paribas, a large French bank, that it was suspending the operations of three of its own funds was, if anything, the most ominous news yet. The suspension was necessary, the bank said, because of “the complete evaporation of liquidity in certain market segments” — that is, there are no buyers. When liquidity dries up, as I said, it can produce a chain reaction of defaults. Financial institution A can’t sell its mortgage-backed securities, so it can’t raise enough cash to make the payment it owes to institution B, which then doesn’t have the cash to pay institution C — and those who do have cash sit on it, because they don’t trust anyone else to repay a loan, which makes things even worse.

And here’s the truly scary thing about liquidity crises: it’s very hard for policy makers to do anything about them. The Fed normally responds to economic problems by cutting interest rates — and as of yesterday morning the futures markets put the probability of a rate cut by the Fed before the end of next month at almost 100 percent. It can also lend money to banks that are short of cash: yesterday the European Central Bank, the Fed’s trans-Atlantic counterpart, lent banks $130 billion, saying that it would provide unlimited cash if necessary, and the Fed pumped in $24 billion.

But when liquidity dries up, the normal tools of policy lose much of their effectiveness. Reducing the cost of money doesn’t do much for borrowers if nobody is willing to make loans. Ensuring that banks have plenty of cash doesn’t do much if the cash stays in the banks’ vaults. There are other, more exotic things the Fed and, more important, the executive branch of the U.S. government could do to contain the crisis if the standard policies don’t work. But for a variety of reasons, not least the current administration’s record of incompetence, we’d really rather not go there....

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mailbag: on GOP Debates, Impeaching Bush, Losing Freedom, Bush Propaganda Museum, various

Yesterday I felt masochistic so turned on the "Republican Debates" to ruin my day. I am a glutton for punishment so just had to see what rhetoric they were all mouthing. I honestly was shocked to hear three of them sounding just like "W" saying that the US needs to spread democracy around the globe. "We do?" Have the 300 million people in this country gone deaf - am I the only one shocked by this kind of talk? I am getting to the point where I hear the things these politicians say & wonder where I am living. Guliani last week on Rose said, "Americans should be responsible for their own health insurance choices just like auto insurance". If only I had gotten out of here before the housing crash. --Elaine

The talk goes on about impeaching Bush and removing him from office, talk talk talk, yet has it ever happened? There is so much proven,documented information about all his terrible injusticies and yet the guy is still president after over six years! The republicans (unsucessfully, of course) fought tooth and nail to remove Bill Clinton from office for getting a blow job behind his wife's back, yet all I ever hear is more talk about impeaching Bush but it never seems to happen. Actually, the whole Bush adminisatration needs to be brought down so we shouldn't just target Bush. I get the feeling that many of the moves attribued to Bush have been masterminded by others in his administration since he never has had the most intelligent air about him. --Joe

Give them sports, easy credit and all the beer they can drink
The powers came to perceive
If they just work and play and seldom think
More deeply than games and TV
Freedom will fade, their Constitution grow dim
They'll consent to all laws heaped upon them

Through crisis and war rumors they extracted much fear
And justified total control
Over sleepy citizens pleased to not interfere
In exchange for flattering cajole
From judges and lawyers turned politicians, wherefore?
To exist and move money as the corporate whore. --Glenn

Southern Halliburton University:
Moving the Bush Bubble to the Big D

In her final column before her untimely death, Molly Ivins wrote:

"We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders."

Dr. Benjamin Johnson, a history professor at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, where President Bush is proposing to build his $500 million library and neoconservative institute (DeFrank, 2006; Berkowitz, 2007), recently attended the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians. Several colleagues there reported that Karl Rove, Bush's chief political strategist, has been traveling around the country examining research facilities, discussing how to select Bush Institute fellows, and meeting with library directors (Johnson, 2007a).

According to Dr. Johnson, one well-respected colleague said, "Rove seems to know exactly what the square footage is of the building that will be at SMU and where it will be located on campus." Rove also expressed displeasure that some SMU faculty and United Methodist bishops were protesting the proposed partisan institute (Korosec, 2007; Silva, 2007) over which Bush and company will have total control (Johnson, 2007b). This hands-on involvement of a top-level White House operative like Rove demonstrates the importance of the proposed library and think tank at SMU to Bush insiders.

Convincing the United Methodist Church to stain its good name and a major university to give away its academic respectability by linking itself with a president that much of the world views as an authoritarian bully who has authorized and advocated for torture and international kidnapping is one nifty trick.

Bush is the most unpopular and isolated president since Richard Nixon. Inside his bubble, the President is being told by the Secretary of State (Rice, 2004) that he is another Winston Churchill or Harry Truman -- unpopular now, but he will be vindicated by history for his heroic effort to bring democracy to the Middle East at the point of a gun (even if it requires a total re-write). To re-write history on the scale Bush needs will necessitate the complete control of a disinformation institute, and if it uses the legitimacy of a respected university and the good name of a major Protestant tradition, all the better (imagine the American Enterprise Institute with a giant cross on the front door, and you get the picture).

Importantly, Rove and friends will be able to continue to conceal the most damaging information about this administration in its bubble using Bush's Executive Order 13233, signed into law shortly after 9/11, which insures that the president and his heirs are able to deny access in perpetuity to government records they select (Gillman, 2007). Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director of the American Library Association, observed that the executive order "completely goes against the spirit of the essence of a library" (Gillman, 2007). Steve Aftergood, Director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said "If the Bush folks are going to play games with the records, no self-respecting academic institution should cooperate" (Gillman, 2007). Professor Benjamin Hufbauer at the University of Louisville, a recognized authority on presidential libraries, believes that dictating which papers can be seen at the library reduces it to "just a museum of political propaganda" (Jascik, 2007).

--Rev. Andrew J. Weaver, Ph.D.

Wednesday, August 07, 2007

Inspectors explained that they were unable to visibly inspect portions of the bridge in Minnesota prior to its collapse because they couldn't get their heads in some of the openings. Right, and that's what my doctor said when I suggested a colonoscopy. --Politex

Tuesday, August 06, 2007

10 Recent Op-Eds: ...from Thomas Paine's Corner, various

1. "Reviewing Ferdinand Lundberg’s 'Cracks in the Constitution'" by Steve Lendman


....Lundberg quickly transfixes his readers by disabusing them of notions commonly held. Despite long-held beliefs, the Constitution is no “masterpiece of political architecture.” It falls far short of “one great apotheosis (bathed) in quasi-religious light.” The finished product was a “closed labyrinthine affair,” not an “open” constitution like the British model. It was the product of duplicitous politicians and their close friends scheming to cut the best deals for themselves by leaving out the great majority of others who didn’t matter.

2. "Vick and Dick: What the Falcons QB may have in common with America’s VP" by Andrew Feinstein


...Cheney and Vick - or Dick and Vick, as I like to call them - actually have a lot in common. They’re both obscenely rich, travel with an entourage of cronies who’ll take the heat should their ringleader get in trouble, dropped out of college early (although in fairness to Dick, after flunking out of Yale, he did finish his degree at the University of Wyoming), starred on their high school football teams but can’t throw an accurate pass, and, of course, seem to revel in the caging, torturing and killing of helpless animals....

3. "Kucinich on the Record" by Amanda Griscom Little


"First of all, as president, I’m going to let the rest of the world know that the days of America trying to be a nation above nations is over. We have to quit trying to dominate other countries, and we have to step out of our isolation and into the brotherhood and sisterhood of all people. I think the world is ready for an American president who puts the sword down, so that nations won’t have to spend a tremendous amount of their resources trying to prepare for war."

4. "A Metallurgist’s Insights Into the Minneapolis Bridge Disaster" by Joel Hirschhorn


Make no mistake: The deeply researched and totally supported case for a massive national infrastructure spending program could not have been clearer. But spending on infrastructure is not sexy and politicians at ALL levels of government have found countless excuses for not facing the totality of the problem. Instead, public spending is dribbled out, dealing with the most urgent problems or, worse yet, the ones that are the most visible to the public. But unaddressed are massive numbers of problems, such as the Minneapolis bridge and thousands more bridges, that our bureaucratic system has learned to game, postpone, rationalize and, therefore, put the public safety at considerable risk....

5. "Solidarity" by John Stippling


...I may not have liked living under the Cultural Revolution, but it was not my revolution. Same as Nepal. It’s not my country, not my people. I feel solidarity with these struggles, however. As I said, perfection is beyond us, and before we liberate our minds, there are often more materialistic things to deal with, especially for the world’s poor. I only want to stress, whether its Milosevic, Castro, Chavez, or the Nepalese maoists, one can rest assured the western press and the official academic orientalists of the Empire, will engage in their usual character assassination and re-writing of history.

6. "Malcolm X on Politics" (from Cyrano's Audio Section)


7. "ATAVISM" by Vi Rainless


....Territoriality limits not only area, but outlook, a provincialism prone to becoming vainglorious when amplified by the injection of terror alerts transforming it to full-blown xenophobia

and a proprietary identification with the “Homeland”, which serves as a springboard for wanton aggression that may begin as threats, but always escalates to an unprovoked act, an assault or an invasion....

8. "US War On Terror And Muslim Response" by Usman Khalif


...As America expands its list of enemies to include those who resist the Indian and Israeli occupation, the reaction of the Muslim masses is vociferous, sometimes even violent. Many Governments take into account the anger of their people and resist American pressure. The degree to which a government submits to American pressure is the extent to which it is seen as illegitimate. Free media, it has been seen, is also not immune to bribes or intimidation. The ‘free press’ in many countries has started to call the resistance fighters as ‘terrorists’. Withdrawal of citizenship and persecution of those who took part in Afghan Jihad is the norm in most Muslim countries. Banditry by demobilised soldiers has been the after effect of every war, but the after effect of demobilisation of Mujahideen in Afghanistan is unique and horrific because of the way their home countries treated them after the end of the Afghan war against Soviet occupation. In consequence, there is an exponential destabilisation of the entire Middle East and much of South Asia.....



...How is such a colossal feat of imposture and pacification accomplished? The corporate system has perfected a communications machinery ruled by powerful, widely accepted myths that prop up the legitimacy of the system by hiding and whitewashing its antisocial flaws. This article does not claim that the system functions robotically and by executive fiat so as to rule out all deviations. The latter do crop up, but never with enough persistence to prevail against the ocean of distortions and banalities that drown out the most serious messages. This usually suffices to stifle meaningful political action. Ironically, these deviations are actually "tonics" to the media system, enhancing its credibility, for they tend to convince the casual observer that the media are indeed independent of government or ownership control.....

10. "Why Socialism?" by Albert Einstein


...I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society....

Monday, August 6, 2007

Editorial: Are the Dems Fascist Lite?, Politex

On a weak phone line from Asia, Christine, our Publisher, asked us what we think about about the Dems' capitulation to Bush, giving him even more disctatorial power to wiretap our phones, and I said I'd write about it, so here it is:

The Dems are fascist lite in relation to the Repubs. The Repubs would like to destroy countries around the globe that do not cooperate with our corporate, capitalistic republic. Indeed, some of these countries would like to bend us to their will, if they could. Others simply want to be left alone to gain the spoils of their dictatorships. However, the U.S. financial pockets are not limitless, so our main corporate representative in Washington, the President, decides upon what countries to invade or covertly destroy on the basis of threat, perceived threat, or fabricated threat, coupled with the ongoing corporate desire to gain more riches. Moderate and Conservative Dems have little trouble going along with this, and, together with the present Republican minority make up the Congressional majority that generally backs the President's fascist corporate foreign policy.

The Dems are also willing to go along with the fascist Republican agenda when it comes to governing the U.S. populace. Hence, their willingness to back Bush's new, more dictatorial wiretap bill. Once Bush identified the uncoordinated terrorist factions and activities that have plagued the world for centuries as a unified force with one agenda, to destroy the U.S., he was able to claim dictatorial domestic powers as his right. The Dems have generally bought this line of reasoning, only drawing the line in its limp defense of habeas corpus.

This leaves the Dems attempting to carve out a political niche by supporting laws that attempt to benefit the poor and the powerless in this country, laws like the recently passed Children's Health bill, which the Republicans, of course, opposed. While the Republican domestic policy would turn the U.S. into a two-class society, the rich and the poor, the Democrats still think of the poor and minority citizens as their political footsoldiers, and think of the U.S. as being the home of a more fluid citizenry. Of course, both parties mouth the pieties of democracy and economic freedom, most citizens think of such pieties as political bullshit, given what's really happening. Perhaps that's why around 50% of our eligible adults don't vote, and perhaps as many as half of those who do suspect that our system of voting is fradulent.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

10 Recent Op-Eds: ...from Thomas Paine's Corner, various

1. "Prosecute US Corporate Media for War Crimes" by David Walsh


The ongoing US aggression in the Middle East raises the most serious questions about the role of the mass media in modern society. In the period leading up to the invasion, the American [corporate] media uncritically advanced the Bush Administration’s arguments, rooted in lies, distortions and half-truths, for an attack on Iraq. It virtually excluded all critical viewpoints, to the point of blacking out news of mass anti-war demonstrations and any other facts that contradicted the propaganda from the White House and Pentagon......

2. "Tales of Angst, Alienation, and Martial Law" by Phil Rockstroh


....Although, don’t look for torch-lit processions thronging the nation’s streets and boulevards; rather, look for a Nuremberg Rally of couch-bound brownshirts. Instead of ogling the serried ranks of jut-jawed, SS soldiers, a contemporary Leni Riefenstahl would be forced to film chubby clusters of double-chinned consumers, saluting the new order with their TV remotes. In the contemporary United States, the elation induced by the immersion of one’s individual will to the mindless intoxication of the mob might only be possible, if Bush seized dictatorial control of the state while simultaneously sending out to all citizens gift certificates to Ikea....

3. "A Brief History of the Cold War and Anti-Communism" by William Blum


...The Bolsheviks had had the audacity to make a separate peace with Germany in order to take leave of a war they regarded as imperialist and not in any way their war, and to try and rebuild a terribly weary and devastated Russia. But the Bolsheviks had displayed the far greater audacity of overthrowing a capitalist-feudal system and proclaiming the first socialist state in the history of the world. This was uppityness writ incredibly large. This was the crime the Allies had to punish, the virus which had to be eradicated lest it spread to their own people....

4. "The Steer Who Escaped Our Conscience" by Ralph Acampora


...I would argue that such confusion is part of a larger conundrum that haunts late-modern civilization, namely that we live in the kind of society made possible economically through the subjugation of nature and other life forms, and yet we are troubled ethically by that very conquest of nonhuman being(s)....

5. " Death by Winning" by Guy Zimmerman


...Winning, in the essentially Calvinist value system of contemporary America, is a sign of God’s grace and the more of it you experience the better. Again I think of the stories about William Paley, the media titan of his day and age, at death’s door begging and wimpering like a child. A perennial winner, like Rupert or Jack Welsh, Mr. Paley wasn’t winning that day and he didn’t know what in the world to do....

6. "Building Circles of Community" by Carolyn Baker


.....With every passing day it becomes clearer to me that as civilization continues to self-destruct, I need to discern how I prefer to spend my time and energy-and with whom. What I least want to do is mimic the culture of empire by rationally focusing on logistics and losing sight of humanity. I know that I cannot survive alone, and even if I have learned no skills whatsoever, I need my fellow earthlings in order to navigate collapse. Moreover, even if I have learned every skill imaginable, if I and my companions in collapse cannot deeply listen to each other and speak our truth with compassion, none of us will survive, and even if we did, an internally vacuous emotional domain would render survival nothing less than absurd.

7. "Of Marx, Christ, and the Persecution of Radicals" by Jason Miller


.....History has clearly demonstrated that “free markets” are “free passes” for acquisitive sociopaths who thrive on bullying and exploiting a large percentage of the Earth’s sentient beings. And despite the ridiculously few and relatively minor restraints that social unrest has forced the opulent class to implement in the US, adept players in the deadly game of capitalism have refused to surrender their “inalienable right” to fuck the rest of the human race in their relentless charge to attain the power and wealth they so desperately crave to distract them from the existential agony of their spiritual emptiness..... 8. "Support Our Robots" by Adam Angel http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/?p=164

.....But let’s imagine for a moment that Iraqis are actually human beings. Or better yet, imagine a country 100 times more powerful than the U.S. bombing all our major cities, then slaughtering the survivors as they attempted to escape in their cars (stuck in traffic jams; literally sitting ducks). Imagine if after this 3 week nightmare resulting in the equivalent of millions of American casualties, the Attackers forced an embargo for twelve years, in which hospitals could not get medicine, vehicles could not receive spare parts, and food and water were scarce, not to mention the destruction of the infrastructure and occasional air raid. THEN imagine that after twelve years of this, the ATTACKERS struck again, this time with the intention of taking over the country, stealing its natural and cultural resources, and basically leaving the U.S. not a society, but a chunk of bombed-out land populated by sick, hungry, wounded, terrified walking zombies. Would we fight back, like the “insurgents?”

9. "Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam" (audio presentation of MLK's speech)


10. "The Covert Kingdom: Thy Will be Done, On Earth as It is in Texas" by Joe Bageant


....Only another liberal born into a fundamentalist clan can understand what a strange, sometimes downright hellish family circumstance it is-how such a family can love you deeply, yet despise everything you believe in, see you as a humanist instrument of Satan, and still be right there for you when your back goes out or a divorce shatters your life. As a socialist and a half-assed lefty activist, obviously I do not find much conversational fat to chew around the Thanksgiving table. Politically and spiritually, we may be said to be dire enemies. Love and loathing coexist side by side. There is talk, but no communication. In fact, there are times when it all has science fiction overtones, times when it seems we are speaking to one another through an unearthly veil, wherein each party knows it is speaking to an alien. There is a sort of high eerie mental whine in the air. This is the sound of mutually incomprehensible worlds hurtling toward destiny, passing with great psychological friction, obvious to all, yet acknowledged by none.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Destroying the Constitution: Our Fascist Government, BW Editorial

As we move into the final years of the Bush-Cheney exercise in fascism, and as various Dem-led congressional committees begin to uncover the melevolant maggots under that particular rock, many Americans feel that the worst is over. However, the fascist Supreme Court created by Bush will remain, and while many of his new laws, directives, and signing statements are unconstitutional, he plays rope-a-dope with the legal system, and what is unconstitutional remains the law of the land. As a White House spokeswoman said the other day in defense of Cheney's bizarre contention that he is his own government: "This is an interesting constitutional question that legal scholars can debate."

While our placid citizens have turned to other aspects of their lives, thinking that the Bush Administration's major threats are behind them, we're learning that the neocons who have been in control have set up secret machinery that will continue to dismantle our democratic traditions, long after Bush and Cheney are gone. And while the illegalities of the past are being ferreted out, the Bush-Cheney fascists continue to devise new methods of pulling down our democracy for their personal gain and that of their friends and their corporate, ideological masters.

While the corporate media in general is satisfied reporting past trangressions and publishing balancing op-eds, and while the Dems, being fascist-lite, have decided upon a no-punishment policy for the illegalities committed by major players in the Bush Administration, our citizens can do nothing but stand by and observe, keeping false hope alive that a Clinton or an Obama will somehow turn us from the fascist path our country has taken during, at least, the last 50 years. Some say the path is built into our system of government and its day-to-day workings. Either way, there's little indication that much will change in the future. --Politex

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bush's Liar: Impeach Gonzales, NYT Editorial

President Bush often insists he has to be the decider — ignoring Congress and the public when it comes to the tough matters on war, terrorism and torture, even deciding whether an ordinary man in Florida should be allowed to let his wife die with dignity. Apparently that burden does not apply to the functioning of one of the most vital government agencies, the Justice Department.

Americans have been waiting months for Mr. Bush to fire Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who long ago proved that he was incompetent and more recently has proved that he can’t tell the truth. Mr. Bush refused to fire him after it was clear Mr. Gonzales lied about his role in the political purge of nine federal prosecutors. And he is still refusing to do so — even after testimony by the F.B.I. director, Robert Mueller, that suggests that Mr. Gonzales either lied to Congress about Mr. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping operation or at the very least twisted the truth so badly that it amounts to the same thing.

Mr. Gonzales has now told Congress twice that there was no dissent in the government about Mr. Bush’s decision to authorize the National Security Agency to spy on Americans’ international calls and e-mails without obtaining the legally required warrant. Mr. Mueller and James Comey, a former deputy attorney general, say that is not true. Not only was there disagreement, but they also say that they almost resigned over the dispute.

Both men say that in March 2004 — when Mr. Gonzales was still the White House counsel — the Justice Department refused to endorse a continuation of the wiretapping program because it was illegal. (Mr. Comey was running the department temporarily because Attorney General John Ashcroft had emergency surgery.) Unwilling to accept that conclusion, Vice President Dick Cheney sent Mr. Gonzales and another official to Mr. Ashcroft’s hospital room to get him to approve the wiretapping.

Mr. Comey and Mr. Mueller intercepted the White House team, and they say they watched as a groggy Mr. Ashcroft refused to sign off on the wiretapping and told the White House officials to leave. Mr. Comey said the White House later modified the eavesdropping program enough for the Justice Department to sign off.

Last week, Mr. Gonzales denied that account. He told the Senate Judiciary Committee the dispute was not about the wiretapping operation but was over “other intelligence activities.” He declined to say what those were.

Lawmakers who have been briefed on the administration’s activities said the dispute was about the one eavesdropping program that has been disclosed. So did Mr. Comey. And so did Mr. Mueller, most recently on Thursday in a House hearing. He said he had kept notes.

That was plain enough. It confirmed what most people long ago concluded: that Mr. Gonzales is more concerned about doing political-damage control for Mr. Bush — in this case insisting that there was never a Justice Department objection to a clearly illegal program — than in doing his duty. But the White House continued to defend him.

As far as we can tell, there are three possible explanations for Mr. Gonzales’s talk about a dispute over other — unspecified — intelligence activities. One, he lied to Congress. Two, he used a bureaucratic dodge to mislead lawmakers and the public: the spying program was modified after Mr. Ashcroft refused to endorse it, which made it “different” from the one Mr. Bush has acknowledged. The third is that there was more wiretapping than has been disclosed, perhaps even purely domestic wiretapping, and Mr. Gonzales is helping Mr. Bush cover it up.

Democratic lawmakers are asking for a special prosecutor to look into Mr. Gonzales’s words and deeds. Solicitor General Paul Clement has a last chance to show that the Justice Department is still minimally functional by fulfilling that request.

If that does not happen, Congress should impeach Mr. Gonzales.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bush Watch Op-Eds: The Latest From Wokusch, Chamberlin, Weiner, Uhler, Partridge, Samples, Brasch

[Editor's Note: An underlying theme in some of the pieces below is that many fear what Bush is going to do before leaving office. Given what has happened and what the men and women in the White House and the anti-American ideology and corporations that control them have done already, this fear is well-founded. Impeachment is a way of slowing down these malevolent forces. --Politex]

<Under the Radar: 10 Warning Signs For Today , Heather Wokusch

Ten warning signs ignored at your own peril…

1. Protest war, lose your property?

On July 17th, The White House quietly announced an Executive Order entitled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq." Among other developments, it gives Bush the power to "block" the property of people in the US found to "pose a significant risk of committing" an act of violence which might undermine "political reform in Iraq."

The terms "significant threat" and "act of violence" are unclear. If you attend a demonstration against Bush's definition of "political reform in Iraq" would that count? How about writing an angry letter to the editor?

The vague language also includes outlawing "the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order." What if you donate to an anti-war group which, outside of your knowledge, has been blacklisted by the government? Does that mean that your property can be "blocked"?...

Similar to the Patriot Act, the potential implications are staggering.

<Could Bush Take Your House If You Protest His War In Iraq? , Peter Chamberlin

On July 17, 2007, Bush quietly issued an executive order entitled “Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.” By this order, he made it a crime to commit, or to pose a significant risk of committing…, acts of violence that threaten “the peace and stability of Iraq,” or undermine “efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.”

It remains to be seen just how far Bush will stretch this law, in light of ongoing attempts by Neocon enemies of America, who charge Americans with “subversive activities” and “providing support to the enemy,” for protesting the war. No one is safe from their crusade to brand most of the American people as “treasonists,” for opposing Bush’s out-of-control “leadership” of the war effort. Even Sen. Hillary Clinton has been accused of these “crimes” by Neocon stooges like Eric Edelman, who attacked her for requesting a briefing for her committee from the Department of Defense on contingency plans for withdrawal from Iraq.

The new Executive Order authorizes the Sec. or Treasury to seize the property and economic assets of any American citizen who is “threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq…undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq..,” or those who “have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such…person whose property and interests…are blocked…”...

<Impeach Bush: Do You Get It NOW? , Bernie Weiner

As Bush&Co. isolate themselves even further in the White House Bunker with their lies, scandals, coverups and unending wars, they're becoming even more reckless and dangerous to America and its citizens. That behavior shouldn't be all that surprising: That's what happens when vicious animals are cornered.

Domestically, they're no longer even trying to hide their aversion to democracy and the Constitution. With his new Executive Order on "executive privilege," for example, Bush openly proclaims that he is untouchable by the rule of law; now there are only two branches of government-- the Legislative Branch is ignored as irrelevant -- and CheneyBush more or less control them both. More on this issue below.

Abroad, the CheneyBush Administration is preparing in the Fall to escalate the Iraq War yet again, at the same time the propaganda machine is being revved-up in preparation for a coming attack on Iran. Both actions will help jihadi-recruiting and thus put at risk even more U.S. troops abroad and citizens at home. Plus, an attack on Iran will have far-reaching consequences with regard to Russia, China, the availability of oil, the rise of the Euro in international trade and the concomitant fall of the dollar, the impact on the U.S. economy, etc. etc.; has Bush&Co. given serious thought to any of these, and other, ramifications?

So, once again, I pose the question to previous Bush voters, to centrists, and independents, and traditionally conservative Republicans: Do you finally get it? Do you understand now why the HardRight CheneyBush Administration has sunk so low in the polls and has little hope of ever getting out, thus taking the Republican Party (and, if you're an elected official, you) down the drain with them in 2008? Do you understand why, since CheneyBush will not resign, impeachment is the only constitutional way to pry their corrupt, itchy fingers from the levers of power?

Some examples here of why we're near the impeachment tipping-point, and why more and true conservative Republicans (among them many elite movers and shakers) are abandoning this sinking ship in record numbers and coming to understand that it's too risky to permit Cheney and Bush to stay in power through January 2009....

<Impeach Bush: A Republic, If We Can Keep It. , Ernest Partridge

The Congressional Democrats offered several excuses for keeping impeachment “off the table.” One familiar response (even by such estimable Senators as Russ Feingold and Bernie Sanders), is that following a successful impeachment in the House, the Senate would surely not convict.

Two replies come to mind: (1) Don’t be so sure of that. When the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon began in the House Judiciary Committee, the Republican Senators were solidly against conviction and removal. All that changed when the evidence was brought forth and the public responded. (2) So what if the Senate fails to convict? When the Republican Congress filed impeachment charges against Clinton, they knew full well that it would never get the necessary 67 votes for conviction in the Senate. It would suffice, they assumed, to drag Clinton’s name and behavior through the mud. Of course, they failed to correctly anticipate the public response. In the case of Bush and Cheney, it will be quite enough to expose their treason and their numerous “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The Senators who vote against conviction will then have to justify those votes in the next election. Another dodge is that impeachment would distract the House and the Senate and, as Russ Feingold argues, “put important issues facing our country on the back burner.”...

<The Bush/Cheney Holocaust in Iraq, Part Three: Desperation unto Bombing Iran? , Walter C. Uhler

(Note: Part One of "The Bush/Cheney Holocaust in Iraq: Criminality, Immorality, Incompetence and Desperation examined the criminality and immorality underlying the Bush/Cheney regime's invasion of Iraq (see http://www.walter-c-uhler.com/Reviews/criminal.html ). Part Two, examined the disasters that could have been avoided, except for the gross incompetence with which the invasion was conducted (see http://www.walter-c-uhler.com/Reviews/incompetence.html ). Part Three, below, examines the desperation, which now compels various political actors to contemplate drastic action before the Bush/Cheney regime leaves office.)

Part Three: Desperation unto Bombing Iran?

Thanks to mid-term congressional elections in November 2006 -- during which Americans delivered a crushing rebuke to the Bush/Cheney regime's handling of its war in Iraq -- and thanks to the report of the Iraq Study Group, which was delivered a month later, the cowards in the White House finally admitted that a "new approach" was needed in Iraq.

Cowards? Yes! As more than one observer has lamented about this pair of jokers: "People don't Change." Neither Bush nor Cheney opposed the war in Vietnam, but neither proved brave enough or patriotic enough to volunteer to fight for their country there, when they had the chance. True to form, in April 2004, a full year into his debacle in Iraq, when our cowardly president was asked whether his administration had made any mistakes, the supposedly honest, forthright and swaggering Bush said he could not think of any....

<All They Have Is Each Other , Sheila Samples

Okay. Let's talk about troops. Everybody's doing it. We're bombarded round-the-clock with "support the troops...fund the troops...bring the troops home...surge the troops...use the troops for Commander Guy photo opps..." Congress is embroiled in a ghoulish "troop" food fight that has gone on far too long. Democrats say Republicans demoralize and dishonor the troops by sending them into an unwinnable war built on lies. Republicans counter that, by suggesting the war is lost, Democrats demoralize and dishonor the troops by calling them "losers."

Losers? Oh, yes. Big time. The men and women who wear this nation's uniform are losers every day, in every way. They are not only demoralized and dishonored, but are dehumanized by a diabolical den of dimwits whose eyes never waver from the 2008 prize, and who view "troops" as a faceless mass of political capital to be spent toward winning that prize. Their deserter commander-in-chief and his chickenhawk minions are very careful to call military personnel "troops," lest they assume human form and enter the slumbering masses' consciousness -- a vacuous pit otherwise known as the "dead zone."...

<All We Are Saying, Is Give War A Chance , Walter Brasch

From the tumbleweed towns of Texas to urban Houston and Galveston, from the Rust Belt to the Bible Belt, Americans have taken to the streets to protest. Waving oversized Chinese-made American flags, wearing T-shirts with pictures of Donald Rumsfeld, and holding banners proclaiming, “Destroy Iraq, Save Civilization,” they demand that America accept the “augmentation” of troops in Iraq.

“How can you call for continued war?” I asked one of their leaders. “Because if we leave Iraq,” said Thelma Lou Hodgkins of Whelping Falls, Mo., “we’ll have stood down and the terrorists will win because we can’t stand the Iraqis, so they’ll either stand up or down. Or maybe sit. Or maybe they’d be lying down on the streets.” Mercifully, I cut her off....

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